How can teachers of ELL students use technology to facilitate collaboration and interactions with peers?
ISTE Standard 2 explores communication and collaboration through technology. I was interested in learning how this may benefit at-risk students, particularly English Language Learners (ELLs).
One article I found discussed a variety of technologies that educators were able to explore during an annual TESOL conference. Teachers learned about and practiced creating digital stories, podcasts, exploring Google Docs, and posting in blogs, which they could then bring to the classroom (Rance-Roney, 2008). For example, teachers may require that students use Google Docs to peer-review essays. I particularly enjoyed that this article discussed two important components to developing literacy for ELLs – English literacy and computer literacy. Students who do not have access to computers at home are at a disadvantage, so it’s important that students are given the opportunity to use and learn about a variety of technologies.
Another article reiterates many of the ideas from the first article, however, it explains in more depth the benefits to using tools like blogs, wikis, and emails (technologyforell.weebly.com, n.d.). Blogging is useful in that it helps students express ideas without the pressure of formal writing. One of the best parts of blogging is that it allows students to interact with others through reading and commenting on other blogs. The webpage Investing in the future highlights the benefits to using SMART Boards in the classroom. A SMART Board is an interactive whiteboard, which enables teachers to create more engaging, interactive, and interesting lessons. Furthermore, SMART Boards “support student collaboration opportunities” (vault.smarttech.com, 2011).
It is especially important that ELL students are afforded opportunities to collaborate with peers in order to increase their English proficiency. By utilizing technology in the classroom, we can create exciting and engaging lessons that promote collaboration, and help our students develop the skills needed to succeed in school and in the future.
Rance-Roney, J. (2008). Technology in the English Language Learner Classroom? National Writing Project. Retrieved from
Investing in the Future (2011). Retrieved from
Technology Tools for ELL Students (n.d.). Retrieved from